Christmas Letter 08

Time is going so fast, it’s Christmas season again. Here are my experiences during Fall 2008 as a way to reflex how good God is. The unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates).
In Oct 2006 I started to use signature ”Let’s make God’s love visible” after reflecting on the connection between my pink habit and Maryknoll’s vision. In Sep 2008, I changed my signature to ”Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible.” I was inspired by St. Theresa Lisiuex with her ”Little Way” and Mother Theresa, but I don’t have great love because I believe only God have great love. The simple things that I do become a channel of blessing for others; e.g. giving away my free ”kick off” dinner ticket to a friend since I could get free dinner by I helping to serve and even I brought the food home.
My sister in Indonesia sent my handbook for learning Mandarin, so I asked Deacon Xing Hao, SVD to teach me how to speak Mandarin – I study about one hour a week. My friend Clare informed me that I can borrow a CD about how to learn Mandarin for free from Chicago Public Library. The next coming day, coming from Chinatown, I saw the Public Library on my way to University of Chicago Hospital, and the next week, I applied to be member. Then I borrowed the CD on the ”Michel Thomas Method: Speak Mandarin” and also movies for free, including Lake of Fire (documentary about abortion) and Bella (about a woman who finally decided not to abort her baby).
Living without orientation directors during the GA brought several changes in our daily rhythm. With three of us in the house, we kept our community meal and prayer schedule as usual with several adjustments; e.g. we ate in the kitchen, sometimes with Sr. Gloria, MM and each one read the psalm per stance. Sometimes I ate left over rice for breakfast, and it continues till now. We were able to be self-governing.
At a Maryknoll Day, I shared about my transformation during this semester. Before sharing, Sr. Jean gave me cover of GA Proceedings, ”Awake” in pink! I had just changed the printer ink the previous week, so it was supposed to turn out blue! This reminded me of one sister who told me that I am transformed if I wear blue. What a holy coincidence!
I learned about Catholic Social Teaching from my class ”Justice, Peace, the Integrity of Creation, and Reconciliation: Living the Values of the Reign of God” by Fr. John T. Pawlikowski, OSM. My class in ”Developing Skills and Competencies for Collaborative Leadership” by Kevin McClone gave more practical knowledge e.g. Emotional Intellegence and listening ministry. I learn to listen to different opinions and other people’s objections, even though I don’t always understand the reason or am told the reasons. From this, I realize the wisdon of having two ears and one mouth - listening more than speaking.
During our silent retreat at St. Joseph Sisters La Grange, I wished to listen to the Holy Spirit and I planned to write a reflection about Second Week of Advent for an Indonesian Catholic Community; I also wanted to continue reading ”Open Mind Open Heart” by Thomas Merton. After our opening prayer of the retreat, I saw a book ”Ending Abortion” by Fr. Frank Pavone, MEV; the book was in a closed position. I decided to read this on the second and third day so I didn’t finish the reflection. I believe that reading the Pavone book was the inspiration from the Holy Spirit.
I had so many others experiences during fall 2008, including barbeque and Christmas party with all Maryknollers in Chicago; volunteering at Family Learning & Resource Center (FALREC) of Chinese American Service League; visiting Chicago Cultural Center and patients at University of Chicago Hospital; Maryknoll Days; attending Catholic Charismatic prayer meetings and liturgies for renewal of vows Scalabrinians, perpetual vows of Xaverian and SVD, diaconate ordination of SVD, Redemptorists and Scalabrinian. Also we had a workshop on Maryknoll History by Angelyn Dries, OSF; Bible Symposium; ”Transformed by Hope” Conference; public lectures and seminars including ”Consistent Ethic of Life. I watched a ”Dorothy Day” play by Lisa Wagner-Carollo; attended World Mission Sunday and International Food Festival at SVD College Epworth, and we had Thanksgiving dinner with several friends.
For all of that, I only can say ”Thank you Lord for all the experiences, all the prayers and all the persons I met.”

Have a blessed Christmas and New Year!

Ossining, Dec 24, 2008

Linda AB, M.M./ ้ป„่Ž‰่Ž‰
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible